Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 97, Issue 1–2, pp 75–84 | Cite as

Mercury in Northern Québec: Role of the mercury agreement and status of research and monitoring

  • Gaston Chevalier
  • Charles Dumont
  • Claude Langlois
  • Alan Penn


In order to determine the nature and extent of the problem caused by the presence of mercury in the environment of the James Bay territory a Mercury Agreement was signed in 1986 jointly by the Crees, the Govemment of Québec and Hydro-Québec. The objectives were to minimize potential hazards to human health arising from the presence of mercury in the environment, to alleviate negative impacts on the Crees, their way of life and their harvesting activities and to provide for remedial measures. Monitoring of mercury concentrations in fish show that, 15 years after impounding of La Grande-2 reservoir, the concentrations remain higher in reservoirs than in natural lakes but they are now decreasing in both predatory (Northern pike) and non-predatory (Whitefish) fishes. Monitoring of the mercury exposure among the Crees showed that concentrations in hair have decreased and are now stabilized, for most of the population, to concentrations that do not present a health risk. This decrease may be attributed to a reduction in fish consumption and/or a possible switch of the diet towards non-piscivorous fish, less contaminated by mercury.


Waste Water Mercury Water Management Negative Impact Water Pollution 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaston Chevalier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charles Dumont
    • 1
    • 3
  • Claude Langlois
    • 1
    • 4
  • Alan Penn
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.James Bay Mercury CommitteeMontréal
  2. 2.Université du Québec d MontréalMontréal
  3. 3.Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James BayMontréal
  4. 4.Vice-présidence EnvironnementMontréal
  5. 5.Cree Regional AuthorityMontréal

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